Today we’d like to introduce you to Ericka Smicenski.
Ericka, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I am a Los Angeles native. I opened Somatic Body Piercing in 1993; I’m proud to say that SBP was the first professional piercing studio in Long Beach and we are one of the last originally owned piercing only studios in California. The past 27 years with this incredible store has been an unconditional love affair. This sacred space celebrates diversity and individuality like nothing I’ve ever experienced.
I love how far this industry has come, breaking through barriers and stereotypes; it has moved from a feared counter culture to being widely embraced not only in pop-culture but in mainstream society. To see body piercing resonate with such a vast range of experiences has proven to me that I am a part of something truly special. The evolution of Somatic mirrors this expansion; we’ve moved out of the underground body modification studio into a high-end, fine jewelry and piercing boutique.
I’m constantly looking to push myself and expand Somatic. Around 2010, I started to incorporate more traditional jewelry and apothecary, shifting my focus on creating a larger vision and rebranding. In this same era, I stepped into my passion for the art of making jewelry. With the support of two local female jewelers who mentored me, I discovered a new voice through making jewelry and started my own jewelry line. As this passion was emerging at Somatic, I realize now as I look back that I was manifesting Good Fortune, SBP’s sister shop that launched in 2016. GF is energized by the desire to create and offer a space for unconventional art, obscure objects, and fine jewelry.
While my passion lies in making jewelry, tattooing has been and will always be a large part of my life. I have explored professional tattooing off and on throughout the years; tattoo culture and its community is pure magic to me. Opening Somatic Tattoo with co-owner and tattooist Mike Roper is something I desired for over 20 years. The space where Good Fortune is now was originally intended for our tattoo shop, but it took five years of lobbying to get city ordinance re-zoned for tattooing. During that time, I curated exhibitions with tattoo artists, historical photographers, musicians, and community-based Long Beach artists. The energy and aesthetic of these art shows became the connective thread between SBP, Somatic Tattoo, and Good Fortune.
Has it been a smooth road?
Has it been a smooth road? Haha. No, it’s been the craziest of rides, but I wouldn’t trade any part of it. I opened my business when I was 19 years old; I grew up with Somatic and was learning how to be an adult, a woman, a mother, and an entrepreneur. I did not have a conventional education and didn’t attend high school; I think the unconventionality of my approach has been a big part of my resilience and success—I’ve never let anyone else’s rules get in my way, mixed with my incredibly strong will to never give up. That said, I have weathered so many storms over the past 27 years. Being a woman business owner is one thing, but being a heavily-modified woman with a pronounced drive amplified these challenges that so many women face. I’ve learned so much about my own voice—no longer am I making myself small because of how people view me. I’m a two-time cancer survivor and a proud single mother of three amazing human beings. My businesses have weathered extreme economic fluctuation, trend transitions, and the many closed-minded negative nay-sayers. I can say that through my hardships and experiences, I have learned to continue to move through and hold space for all that life brings; I try to not be overly attached to it all. Allowing the flow to happen while maintaining my focus is a constant quest. A large contributor to overcoming these hardships has been the love and support I receive from my family, our clients, community, and the most amazing people that I work with. My businesses wouldn’t be what they are without these individuals past, present, and future that make these stores what they are.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Somatic Body Piercing, Somatic Tattoo, and Good Fortune collectively share a common voice that is authentic in its openness, care for clientele, and the drive to excel in our crafts. We strive to create a positive environment that’s open to every body. Our shops offer not only an elevated aesthetic but a memorable experience. At Somatic Body Piercing you’ll find exclusive house made jewelry, featured designer body jewelry, and seasoned professional piercers with a curatorial eye. Next door at Good Fortune, you will find small batch, handmade fine jewelry collections. Along with our selections from talented jewelers, we are also known for creating unconventional, OOAK engagement rings. When you visit this gem of a shop, you’re sure to encounter ever-changing original works of art and surprising new treasures. Upstairs at Somatic Tattoo, we specialize in all styles of tattooing from big to small. Co-owner and world-renowned tattooer Mike Roper is known for his Japanese style tattooing. Our little hideaway above the rainbow stairs has an intimate and welcoming feel. We feel so fortunate to offer the talents of forward-thinking tattooers dedicated to tattooing. How amazing is it that we get to be a part of something that is seriously so cool?
Somatic Body Piercing
- Address: 3406 E Broadway
Long Beach, CA 90803
- Website: www.somaticbodypiercing.com
- Phone: 562.438.6406
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/somaticbodypiercing
- Facebook: facebook.com/somaticbodypiercing
- Address: 3410 E. Broadway
Long Beach, CA 90803
- Website: www.shopgoodfortune.com
- Phone: 562.434.5555
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/shopgoodfortune
- Facebook: facebook.com/shopgoodfortune
Somatic Tattoo (upstairs)
- Address: 3408 E. Broadway suite B
Long Beach, CA 90803
- Phone: 562.434.9999
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/somatictattoo
- Facebook: facebook.com/somatictattoo